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Addressable Conjugation in Bacterial Networks

Networks of interacting cells provide the basis for neural learning. We have developed the process of addressable conjugation for communication within a network of E. coli bacteria. Here, bacteria send messages to one another via conjugation of plasmid DNAs, but the message is only meaningful to cells with a matching address sequence. In this way, the Watson Crick base-pairing of addressing sequences replaces the spatial connectivity present in neural systems. To construct this system, we have adapted natural conjugation systems as the communication device. Information contained in the transferred plasmids is only accessable by "unlocking" the message using RNA based 'keys'. The resulting addressable conjugation process is being adapted to construct a network of NAND logic gates in bacterial cultures. Ultimately, this will allow us to develop networks of bacteria capable of trained learning.

Our Team

High School

Matt Fleming
Kaitlin A. Davis


Bryan Hernandez
Jennifer Lu
Samantha Liang
Daniel Kluesing
Will Bosworth


John E. Dueber
J. Christopher Anderson

Faculty Advisors

Adam P. Arkin
Jay D. Keasling

The specific goals of our project were to:

Berkeley2006IgemRocks.jpgConstruct high-performance riboregulator pairs
Berkeley2006IgemRocks.jpgHarness the process of bacterial conjugation
Berkeley2006IgemRocks.jpgDemonstrate transmission of a coded message
Berkeley2006IgemRocks.jpgDevelop promoter tools to tune gene expression

To learn more about our system, follow the series of descriptions below:

High-performance Riboregulators

Harnessing Bacterial Conjugation

NAND Logic in Cellular Networks

Extending to Cellular Networks

Tuning Constitutive Expression Levels

Visit our working website at Berkeley 2006 iGEM

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